It is almost an un-documented fact that the man in the family has to work to earn for living. The woman in the family need / need not work, based on the family’s financial needs and her interest. But, her work is to take care of the family – from cooking till cleaning. That is how we have a culture and generations built up so its not easy to bring a change. But, did we really think what is this career ? Work is something that we do to earn something. But career is the one we have to choose with wisdom. It should be associated with your interest, with your passion, it should be your cup of tea, at the same time, should help your income too. Men in our society have the pressure of running their family. The entire financial requirements is on his head (irrespective of his spouse working or not). This pressure compresses his mind to think and differentiate between work and career.
Many men would have compromised the girl friend and started loving their wife post marriage. 🙂 On a similar style, they also compromise on their career which they dreamt off and started to accept and love their work. He needs to get promotion, peer pressure of onsite and fancy life style , comparison from relatives , office politics – these drive him crazy. These push him more focused on his work, more into the growth ladder, becoming a boss, losing the boy in himself. We see many men who are seniors become isolated in office environment – they have lunch alone or with two or three other lonely seniors. They do not take enough breaks, they do not have a 9 to 6 schedule rather accept office calls anytime they are invited. This slowly becomes an addiction in their life. They get used to waking up seeing min ten new mails, five issues for the day, two leaves from their team and entire calendar full of calls and meetings. He also has to remember wife’s birthdays, plan for child’s school program, get his son for cycling and deal with parent’s needs.
Just like how a woman unknowingly disconnects her work, once she prioritizes her family, similarly a man unknowingly, with no intention shifts his temporary priority to his job. He forgets what is his career. He wants to work, he works because he wants promotion, after promotion, he wants to invest because of peer pressure, and then work towards next promotion. He is forced to carry a ‘role model’ shoulder. He cannot afford to have a day with no meetings. Guess what happens when this man takes a week’s holiday – with no internet, with no phone connection ? He feels weird. All 24 hours with family ? Even his children get confused, whats wrong with dad ?
But the poor boy inside him needs a break. Women have maternity leaves, and we have equal reasons to take smaller breaks (for kids / functions). This helps us to relax from office pressure and addiction in one way. But, men do not have this luxury of a longer leave. According to me, a man MUST need atleast a two month break every year to relax himself. To take a break from office addiction, to experience the love and human beings around his life, to spend that minute without checking of his calendar.
While this is almost an impossible option to many men, the other choice is for them to distract / re-distribute the addiction to a hobby , it can be a sport or reading or photography. However, there is a best third option – he can have a better work life balance. This is not a term only for women.
I have a family friend where the husband goes to work early and comes back very early. He handles the children’s homework and evening snacks and play time. The wife leaves late and comes back from office around dinner time, they relax together and wind up their day post dinner sharing the stories of work and children. While this is sweet to hear, I personally know how the initial days were tough for the guy. He had to say NO to calls after 6 pm, while everyone else said YES. He will be the only dad in the play area babysitting the kids. But, he threw away the short term addiction for a long term life.
This helps you get older happily. I have many men in my own life, who are panicked after retirement. They have enough investments, they have enough money for themselves and the next generations. But, they have trouble not working after retirement. They feel handicapped to sit at home. I see the reason as not taking big breaks for past 40 years at work, suddenly a permanent break is a stroke.
So, dear men – with all respect and care, take your breaks, breathe fresh air once a while, enjoy and rejoice your love ones – DO NOT get addicted to your work ! Have a wonderful life…
My blog on Woman’s career